Guerrilla Barbecue in a Carrollton Parking Lot

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Jaime-Paul Falcon
Somewhere, illicit and delicious meat is being sold in a parking lot.

When I say to you "pop-up restaurant," you might envision such things as an experienced chef temporarily occupying an artful and attractive space in a prime location somewhere to try out a new concept or two. Perhaps you think of a fun new approach to dining testing out the commercial possibilities of such a venture. Definitely, there would at least be nice table linen, you know, and the establishment would have a roof and a door.

None of these particulars apply to the "pop-up restaurant" I discovered yesterday in a parking lot in North Carrollton. In fact, given the smoker attached to a truck full of wood, the awkward ordering of barbecue from a non-existent menu, and the word of mouth way I discovered this place, I would term it more "guerrilla barbecue" than anything else. Insurgent barbecue, entrenched in parking lots in North Texas, but way more delicious than civil wars or religious extremism.

After a tip from a fellow lover of barbecue, our very own Jaime-Paul Falcon, I hurriedly drove to an Aldi parking lot in Carrollton. We had heard rumor of these guys before and marveled at the idea of just setting up a smoker in a supermarket parking lot to sell meat, and were pretty pleased to discover that clearly they had evaded the attention of the law long enough to come back again. There has to be a law against selling parking lot meat, right? I absolutely would not want these guys to stop selling barbecue to the public. They're fantastic. I hope they invade parking lots around Dallas for years. I'm just worried the law is onto them, so I'm protecting their identities.

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Jaime-Paul Falcon
"Horace," soldier of fortune.

Barbecue outlaw number 1, a man whose name may or may not be Horace (presumably not), eyed me as I approached. "You guys selling?" I asked which, in retrospect, is the worst parking lot transaction opening line of all time. I'm not very good at this sort of thing. He looked at me suspiciously. I gestured at the smoker. "You know. Meat." He nodded, and led me over to the gigantic black smoker that was making the entire parking lot, and the surrounding half a mile or so, smell of delicious wood smoke. You want to find the guerrilla barbecue? Just follow your nose.

"What do you want?" I had no idea. "What ... what are my choices?" "Beef, ribs, sausage, turkey, chicken, hot links, you name it, we're smoking it." "How much per pound? "Per what?" "Per ... per pound?" "Man, you can get a meal, or a sandwich. We ain't got scales." Stupidly, I somewhat overestimated the professionalism of a barbecue being sold in the parking lot of a heavily discounted supermarket. "OK ... I'll get the dinner with beef, ribs, and sausage." "A one meat dinner or a two meat dinner, man. No three meat." "Right. Sorry. Er ... beef and ribs."

Somehow I ended up with two dinners, one of brisket and one of ribs, for $10 each. I don't really know what happened. I hurried back toward the discount supermarket, only to discover I had apparently forgotten two cans of Coke I was entitled to, both marked "multipack only" on the side. While I was walking away, I noticed I had made a rookie error (well, several rookie errors, but noticeably this one) -- everyone else was driving up to get their food through the car window, as if this were an accepted form of Carrollton drive-thru. How did this social convention develop? If I were a man with a smoker, and people started driving at it, I would become nervous about the flame/vehicle interaction possibilities. But apparently I'm the weird one for parking up and going on foot.

Nevertheless, the food was predictably delicious. The brisket was tender with an excellent smoke ring, the fat was perfectly melty, and everything had clearly been smoked for a long time, as the smoke on the ribs especially was overwhelming. It was like eating a rib that you had saved from a forest fire which had been raging (at a controlled temperature, of course) for several days. My hands smelled of smoke for hours afterwards. I didn't wash them, just used them to caress the wife, so that she too would smell of smoke. And ribs. And sauce. I don't know where I'm going with this.

Suffice to say, if you should find the guerrilla barbecue team (they genuinely call themselves the Kings of Smoke), then hit them up for some barbecue. You won't regret it. Thanks to me, you know what not to do.

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12 comments
J_A_
J_A_

I'm planning on going this weekend. Hope I can catch them.

gabe48
gabe48

Has anyone tried the amazing barbecue at Mac's on Main St. in Dallas?  Great ribs and jalapeño sausage, fresh fries not frozen.  Mom and Pop operation, open only for lunch.

Also, in Frisco, I recently tried 3 Stacks Smokehouse, VERY good barbecue, offering both beef and pork ribs, but the fries are frozen not fresh.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Gavin,

     I know of two guys (separate locales) that have "GREAT Q", at reasonable prices.....and the product is not watered down because of overhead.  I say why not?  That's what good BBQ is sir.  True BBQ.  


ps-I don't have the patience, time or liver to stay up all night watching this shite, so I go these guys. Hell man, $11.00 bucks a pound for brisket ain't bad. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Have not had this guys, but in arlington, a dude used to post up in the parking lot between the Arlington Bottle Shop(now closed, thanks centennial/majestic) and the Valero.  Nothing like buying a couple hundred dollars in liquor and then cruising by for a couple of chopped beef sammies and some ribs.  Unfortuntely with the demise of the liquor store, I have not seen him there and have no clue where to find him now.  



Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

While in Carrollton try the Bar-B-Q Shack (4211 Charles Street - Hebron Parkway)

In the gravel parking lot of a Park Place Trees nursery/landscaping outfit  Only open on Saturdays and only when the old guy who runs it feels like it

JaimesonPaul
JaimesonPaul

Just so everyone knows this was a 4 month long game of cat an mouse between me and these guys. I spotted them one day on my way back from a North Dallas dog park and have either just missed them, or already ate when they were out. Look for them on the weekends when the weather is nice out. It's well worth your time.

illakk
illakk

I want to know where and when I can find him next! 

EdD.
EdD.

Are they on Facebook or Twitter, or do we really have to cruise greater Carrollton with our heads out the window like dogs?

GavinCleaver
GavinCleaver

@EdD. I'm worried if I give out their normal location that the law will swoop in, but there are enough clues here that you should be able to piece together their regular hangout.

todd
todd

@GavinCleaver I hope the Carrollton Health Department isn't internet savy. 

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